Caty, the cuter roofer
The roofer, Brian, in background, is pastor of the little non-denom. church I was part of, with my family, from about age 15 to 25. Caty is his third — she’s 17 now, or close to it. Brian has been taking roof jobs to supplement income through most of his ministerial life, and Caty is his capable sometime helper, up there, in the past year or so. He also coaches her soccer team. They have a great father-daughter thing going.
I don’t see a lot of their family any more — it’s a dozen-plus years since I moved away, became a Presbyterian, eventually sort of moved on from Presbyterianism, eventually moved back to Baltimore in a different place in life. It happens that Brian picked up this big job recently, and I was available and had an interest in getting back up on a roof a bit. So I’ve been part of his ad hoc labor crew for a few days in the past week or so. The other help have been a handful of kids from his church, now in their late teens, all of whom I babysat, herded in Sunday school, and what have you, when they were little.
Among fond memories of mine from when just a little older than they are now are a few occasions, during evening sessions of some church business or study at Brian’s, when I took the job of putting the baby to bed — the baby being Caty — and singing her to sleep. I was good at this, in fact, since practiced with my own sister (among others), but Caty could be a challenge to calm down. Fortunately, I had a great little stock of old songs — Bing Crosby, the Mills Brothers — in my arsenal. Hard to resist when you’re being rocked and lullabied with ‘Nevertheless,’ ‘It’s been a long, long time,’ ‘Up a lazy river,’ ‘Basin Street’ . . . .
My circumstances are such that I don’t get to sing babies to sleep much any more. And I miss it. It is some compensation, though, to see kids I had a hand in taking care of as little ones turning into capable young men & women — and somehow especially good to be there, this past week, to see Caty climbing around on a roof with her dad.